March newsletter now out. now out. Also available: January 2018 newsletter, Dec 2017 newsletter. Oct newsletter. Sep newsletter, May newsletter, April newsletter, March newsletter and our February newsletter.
Film showing, Dispossession, Thursday 22nd March
We are delighted to invite you to a special showing of the powerful documentary Dispossession, at the Trades Club in Hebden Bridge, Thurs 22 March, 8pm. The event is free (donations invited).
The film examines the decimation of social housing in recent decades and gives a voice to people in communities that have borne the brunt of the lack of decent housing. Big Issue has called the film the most important British film since I, Daniel Blake.
This is a joint initiative between the CLT and Unite Community (part of Unite the Union) and we are grateful to Unite’s John Coan who has done the work of organising this event. The CLT is planning a series of other events for the Spring focusing on different aspects of the housing crisis.
Share issue ‘pledge’ leaflet launches
Thank you if you came along early in February, when we launched our community share ‘pledge’ leaflet at Hebden Bridge Town Hall. We were pleased to have such a good turn-out and heartened by the interest shown.
You’ll know if you were there that we are planning to launch an ambitious community share issue in the summer, to raise £500,000 in investment from within the community to help fund the proposed Hebden Bridge development of affordable homes to rent. (You’ll also know that we won’t be asking for anyone’s investment until we have planning permission and have completed work on the share prospectus.)
If you are prepared to take a small quantity of the ‘pledge’ leaflet to pass on to friends, colleagues and neighbours, please let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
‘Pledges’ total reaches £90,000
We’re very pleased to be able to report that, as at the end of February, we had received ‘pledges’ from thirty people, together totalling £94,720. This is a much faster response than we’d imagined possible. A big thank you to all thirty of you. (The word ‘pledges’ needs inverted commas, because as you will have gathered there is no legal commitment involved at this stage).
£500,000 will be the largest community share issue ever attempted in Britain for community-led housing, but with this very early level of support we’re feeling increasingly confident that we will get there.
Community Foundation for Calderdale also expect to investWe’re also delighted to say that, following discussions with two of the trustees and the CEO of the Community Foundation for Calderdale, the Foundation’s trustees have taken an in-principle decision to invest £100,000 in the Hebden Bridge development. This is subject to discussions on the terms, but is a very welcome fillip to the CLT. Investment from CFFC will be a valuable additional source of investment capital for what we’re planning to do. (And it is thanks to CFFC that the largest individual pledge so far, for £25,000, has come in).
Our AGM will be on Saturday April 28th
Diary alert! The CLT’s AGM will be on Saturday 28th April, at 10.30am (for refreshments) and 11am for the meeting itself.
We will be meeting in the Waterfront Hall in Hebden Bridge’s Town Hall (We were originally hoping to meet in Todmorden (we like to do these things turn-and-turn-about) but the obvious venue the Fielden Hall was already booked and we have failed to find anywhere else free that day. Apologies to Todmorden friends and supporters who will have to make the journey along the valley (next year hopefully the Tod College will be up and running in community hands).
The AGM is important. The CLT is a democratically-led member organisation (technically a charitable ‘community benefit society’), and this is the main chance for our members and supporters to get together to discuss how the CLT is progressing.
News from Hebden Bridge
You may have seen site investigation work happening on the land off Heptonstall Road (the former High Street) where we hope to build 23 new affordable homes. We have commissioned surveys to explore the underground make-up of the land, slope stability and drainage. Once the reports are in we will have a better of cost of the development and the foundation and piling approach.
The results are expected shortly but the initial view looks promising. Obviously we need to complete this work before we can apply for planning permission, which we hope to do in the spring.
Our homework over the Christmas period
was to complete massive quantities of paperwork from Homes England (previously Homes & Communities Agency) to enable us to apply for ′Registered Provider’ status and to draw down government grant funding which is delivered through Homes England for new affordable housing. We got there: the form (plus business plan, 5 year financial projections etc etc) is submitted and we wait for the (lengthy) period of assessment.
The good news is that we have already successfully jumped through other hoops and are now recognised by Homes England as an ′Investment Partner’.
The trustees met for an ′awayday’ on the first Sunday in January, and among other things discussed the CLT’s approach to allocations. This is not an immediate issue at the moment, but one which will obviously be really important when we have our first homes built and ready for their occupants.
The detailed allocation policy is being worked on (and we welcome input). We have agreed however that we will be aiming to prioritise people most in housing need, and who have a local connection. We will be seeking to develop mixed communities in CVCLT’s properties, for people from all walks of life. We want our eventual policy to be fair, transparent, simple, scalable (as we grow) and of course legally watertight.
Thank you, town council
We very gratefully acknowledge a £4500 grant from Hebden Royd Town Council, which we will be putting towards the expenses of promoting the community share issue. The interest which councillors have shown in what we’re doing is really appreciated.
And thank you, new members
We continue to recruit new members, including one new member who gave us a particularly generous donation (and they ticked the Gift Aid box too!). We are a member-controlled society and charity, and we think this is important not only in terms of accountability and democracy but also in ensuring that what the CLT is proposing is in line with community desires and aspirations.
Public meetings on housing in Hebden Bridge
As part of the work we’re undertaking to prepare for the Community Shares issue, we are planning a series of public meetings in Hebden Bridge in the Spring, looking at the housing crisis nationally and locally, and what communities like ours can do about it. More details soon.
Todmorden’s Fielden Hall improvements
We applaud the work being undertaken by the Fielden Centre Association (the charity which manages the Fielden Hall in Todmorden) to improve the storage arrangements in the main hall. As the Fielden Hall′s legal custodian, we work closely with the FCA to ensure that this wonderful community facility is used to its fullest capacity.
The government seems to like us
Not us personally, you understand, but the network of community land trusts and community development trusts working hard to bring about the housing which local neighbourhoods needs. Community-led housing is the current buzzword, and we’re pleased that the government has finally announced plans to help fund the movement. The money involved isn’t enormous, but it is a start.